updates and stuff

I’m  a terrible person – but I honestly have a good excuse. between real life stress and bad health I just haven’t been as active as normal – and to all the folks over at ao3 who have been infinitely patient – I promise more frequent updates.

although it looks life is going to take a busier turn soon – I’m hoping to go back to work soon and I just got cast in a movie – a small part but it”s the first proper acting I’ve done in a long time so I’m pretty excited. I have to admit that it will be strange to be on th other side of the camera again

:)

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15 Feb and why it’s important for fandom

Today is  International Fanworks Day. A day when we fans can celebrate the things we create.

I’ve spoken a lot about how I feel about fanfiction and video (lovelovelovelovesquee!) so today has got me thinking about fanworks and their place in fandom.

I know a lot of people don’t like fanworks, including authors and creators, and you know, that’s fine. Fans respect that – if we are asked not to post fic or art or video then we don’t do it. Fandom works two ways after all.

But in those fandoms where we have a sort of unspoken free rein……oh wow! Boy do we ever go to town.

Fanworks are a way for fans to continue things, participate, and, on occassion fix things (see below re. ‘head canon’) that we can share with other like minded people. It’s a way to get through the horrible months between seasons, and honestly, I know that I personally have met some wonderful people through their work.

Issues with fanworks

Okay, so the biggest issue we have for fans is that fanworks can constitute a breach of a copyright because they could be seen as derivative works. Which, I guess, they are. They can also cause massive headaches for creators when they come up with an idea that already exists somewhere in fandom – this is one of the main reasons I’ve seen folk ask for fanwork not to be public. I’ve talked a lot about fanworks in the past, so I’m not going to dwell on it too much here.

Appreciation

Fans are amazing. I can’t say that enough. Sure, we, as a collective, can be annoying and weird and a little obsessive, but we band together, we have an amazing time, and, and this is important, we are the ones who make shows and books financially profitable, so when creators make negative comments about fans, it’s actually pretty shitty. In all the fan communities I am part of, folks are sweet, intelligent and respectful and some of them are amazingly talented. Just before Christmas I started to post a story on AO3. It was only supposed to be a short 1000 word one shot to get it out of my system. Since then it’s grown to two novel length works and a short that it never would have been if hadn’t honestly been for the encouragement and support of the community there. Logging in each day to comments and emails has become the highlight of my day. I’m a writer, but I don’t read reviews of my books, yet I devour reviews of my fanfiction. It’s a strange sort of validation. And honestly, I love being able to play in someone else’s world for a little while, but even better than that is when someone else who loves those characters as much as you do tells you that you are doing something well.

Today I am uploading two chapters, some of which will be lots of porn. Because fuck it, we fangirls like our porn and we aren’t ashamed of it.

So, whereever you are, however you spend today, read some fic, watch some vids, look at some art and marvel at how amazing fandom is.

’til later,

Love, etc,

C

**Head canon – a collective fan canon that is generally accepted as the norm – usually when something happens that we don’t like and so the fandom as a whole tends to ignore or ‘fix’ the event – ie. Ianto didn’t die, Mary isn’t pregnant, Mystrade (because really, that’s practically canon)

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Responsiblity and the written word – opinion or excuse?

I was rather disapointed this week when me local newspaper – the Newtownards Chronicle – chose to print a rather offensive piece by one of their regular writers, one Ian Alexander.

The piece is screenshotted below for anyone who wants to read it. Basically, it’s an ignorant bigoted homophobe using his public platform to spout hatred.

chronicleYou can see the Newtownards Chronicle on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Newtownards-Chronicle/346839105401177

The piece concerns gay marriage, which Alexander insists on referring to as ‘marriage’ – he even suggests that he has no issue with gay people having a legal standing that is SOMETHING LIKE marriage, they should have a different thing and a different name for it.

So…..pretty much as things are now then?

And this is the problem. Alexander argues language. Honestly, I’m going to go blind from rolling my eyes so hard.

This EXACTLY highlights the problem when it comes to both equal rights and terminology.

WHY THE FUCK SHOULDN’T GAY PEOPLE BE ALLOWED TO MARRY AND REFER TO IT AS MARRIAGE?

There is no reason at all, and arguing terminology is just pedantic.

I’m actually embarrassed and ashamed to come from the same town this paper is from. In this age of equliaty and progression, how can a paper print such bigotted drivel? Where is the responsiblity of the written word? Now, don’t get me wrong, I;m not for censorship, but I do think that we have a moral responsilbity to NOT PRINT HATE SPEACH! To do so, and without comeback or balance, only furthers the problem by making it seem like it’s okay to think and speak like that.

In the past when I have complained about this sort of thing I have been fobbed off (remember my issue with teh DM?) and told that opinion pieces are the views of the writer, not the paper. But that doesn’t fly with me. See, the paper still chose to print it. The paper still CHOSE to put those words in their paper. They could have said no. They have decided that they weren’t going to devote time and space and give a platform for this sort of shit.

But instead they backed it. They decided to put it in in all it’s nasty glory. Well done Newtownards Chronicle – I’ll not be buying your paper again.

Opinion pieces?

Well, here’s my opinion, Ian Alexander and his hate speech, and The Newtownards Chronicle can take their homophobia and ignorance and just FUCK RIGHT OFF – we want none of that shit here.

EDITED TO ADD – I posted on the Chronicles facebook page asking why they thought it was acceptable – along with the same screenshot from above.

I have a feeling I’m going to make someone very annoyed before the night is through.

I’ll keep you updated.

Love, etc,

C

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Je suis charlie

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updates

sorry guys, there won’t be any updates for a while – i had a minor cava related incident and, long story short i tripped over the dog and my arm is in a sling. turns out it’s really hard to type with one hand and the painkillers are making the text a bit wiggly. i’m also fairly sure i shouldn’t be sitting up for this long either.

love, etc

c

Edited to add – i apparently made bad creative choices when on medication. I’ve been writing a lot of fanfic, and I woke up really irrationally angry at Martin Freeman and decided to punish the whole world 40k into my latest fic. As a result I appear to have angered a whole fandom. But the comments have made it all worthwhile.

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When there’s nothing you can do to help aka – antisocial media part 2

So, for most of us Christmas is a wonderful time, but for one friend of mine it’s been a horribly stressful and upsetting experience. Sadly, it doesn’t look to be ending any time soon. Let me explain –

Many months ago my friend, let’s call her Sally, discovered her boyfriend had been cheating with someone she knew. They broke up, he moved out and that was that. Sort of.

Her exes new girlfriend then embarked on a campaign of abuse on social media which has lasted for almost six months.

Daily posts and jibes and comments targeted at Sally. It’s been a constant onslaught which has been witnessed by everyone she knows and has left her hurt, frightened and beyond upset. It’s reached the point where it’s starting to impact on her working life too. In short, it’s Not. Good.

Okay, I hear you say, so what’s the problem?

Well, she’s not named in the posts and they aren’t posted on her own social media pages – which she has basically shut down / locked or abandoned altogether in recent months – too afraid to go online and interact with her friends because of the risk of coming across something upsetting – and with so many people in common, and the way that some sites show you other friends comments or likes etc then there’s always a risk of something upsetting coming up in her sidebar.

The nature of the posts have been sly and calculated – targeted comments about her appearance, her job, her home – too many to be a co-incidence. So far she has managed to brush much of it off, determined not to take too much to heart. But in the last two weeks the campaign has stepped up – the new girlfriend has taken to name calling and refering to Sally openly as her BF’s ex, making it very clear who she is targeting. The name calling and slurs have been about Sally’s appearance, about her job, about her hobbies. Systematically targeting everything that makes Sally who she is. And all the while the new girlfriend is posting comments about how ‘classy’ and ‘elegant’ she is and what a ‘real lady’ she is – oh the irony. And all of her nasty targeted comments have been approved and liked by the BF – which is just disturbing in itself – I mean, who sees their partner acting in that way towards another human being and thinks that it’s acceptable and normal?

And it is breaking my heart because it’s so hard to prove or to stop this kind of thing.

We’ve seen far too many people driven to extreme measures by this sort of online bullying, and that’s what it is. Bullying.

It’s a deliberate, targeted and malicious attack which has left a wonder, amazing person hurt and desperate.

Now, Sally is smart and she is tough and she did what I would have done – she went straight to the source of the problem and she spoke to both her ex and his new girlfriend and asked them to stop.

It got worse.

I even asked her ex to have a word and make it stop. But nothing.

The law makes it very difficult to do anything about cyber bullying. It’s hard to prove and hard to make stick – which is why so many people get away with it.

So, instead of enjoying Christmas like everyone else, Sally spent it upset, and I spent it taking screenshots and finding out how to get a restraining order in Ireland. Bad times.

(I do have to wonder about the mental health of someone who is so obsessed with their partner’s ex-girlfriend that they even spend CHRISTMAS DAY posting insults about her. That leve of obsession is truly frightening.)

I’ve posted in the past about anti-social media, and how the instant aspect of the internet has been part of the problem – there’s no time to calm down and think anymore. You can just say it and put it out there. And the whole world can see it.

And even when using their own name bullies seem to think they are operating under anonymity – like the internet isn’t the real world and nothing they say actually matters or can be held against them. But that just isn’t the case. Words can hurt. They can do real damage to people. They can ruin reputations and destroy relationships. I’ve seen entire professional reputations destroyed because of bullying campaigns.

And friends don’t always help – ‘liking’ negative comments only furthers the problem. You might even think it’s funny and all in jest, or that you are supporting your friend but sometimes you need to remember that there is another person on the recieving end and you can’t alway see the damage you are doing.

Bullies don’t take responsibility for their words, which is the problem. With no concept of responsibility and no one to answer to for their actions, bullies get away with it. Destroying lives.

So folks, my plea today – don’t stand back and allow it to happen. Take a stand. Speak up.

Own your words.

Love etc,

C

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Sex in Fanfiction part 11 – understanding tags and warnings

As I’ve discussed before, fanfiction has evolved it’s own language – especially in the tags and warnings. And this can be confusing for some people who are new to fanfiction, and even thoughfics are clearly tagged, if you don’t understand the nature of either the tags orthe warnings. So, what exactly do they mean?

Well, one of the confusing tags for newbie is the ! tag. This isn’t as confusing as it seems and is basically used for two reasons – it denotes excitement and is used to separate two other words to make it easier to understand. It’s primarily used to tagg for sex. Example:

top!john – ‘top’ refers to the act of ‘topping’ – ie. in a slash pair it’s the male who penetrates. the name is the character who tops.

bottom!pete – ‘bottom’ is the reciever – ie. the one who is penetrated. the name is the character. Both of these terms are primarily used in m/m slash.

jailbait!brian – most commonly underage AU, where the character named is underage.

omega!bill – bill is an omega

etc etc. I think I’ve explained so far.

But then let’s talk about !kink

!kink is not to be confused with it’s counterpart kink. !kink refers to specific types of kink, and not just kink in general. For instance a character might have a military!kink  – !kink is usually pretty self explanatory.

Fanfiction website A03 has a pretty good page on commonly used tags within the fanfiction community, and I recomend you all have a read of it and familiarise yourselves with them. And yes, the vast majority do tend to be about sex. :)

http://archiveofourown.org/tags

Until next time.

Love, etc

C

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The interpretation of words

I know I’ve been holding out on ya’ll, and some of you have noticed, but now I have officially been given the go ahead to talk about the super top secret project I’ve been involved in. Admittedly, I’m only allowed to talk in the vaguest of terms at the moment, but more to come soon, I promise.

For the last few months I have been involved in the creation of a local production, which has been amazing fun. It’s been many years since I have had any experience in film or television, and the chance to work on something from the start was too good to pass up. Admittedly, the stress has not been good for me, and the self doubt hit me like a truck a couple of months ago and I seriously considered pulling out. But I’m glad I didn’t because the learning experience has been immense.

But what I really wanted to talk to you about today is how words are interpreted by other people.

It’s been a very strange experience hearing my words spoken by strangers, and listening to how they bring them to life. At times it’s been amazing and all sorts of wonderful, and at other times it’s been frustrating and upsetting.

Why?

Well, it’s all about how someone says things. The words and phrases they put emphasis on, the tones they use, the actions that accompany the words. Sometimes those words don’t come across the same way as they had in my head, or the way I had intended them. And sometimes this is good, but sometimes it;s not.

It really made me realise that we, as writers, don’t always have control over how someone interprets our work. What was quite frustrating and strange was standing to one side and not being able to step in and say ‘no, that’s supposed to be said like….’ because it wasn’t my place. I got to see in action how we have to let our work go and trust other people to see the things in it that we want them to. It really made me realise that we have no control over those things.

As a learning experience it was humbling and sometimes dealt a huge blow to my ego when something I had slaved over was casually reworked on the fly. I’ve learned to let things go a little more, and not to take editing and changes so personally. I’ve also learned that hanging around to watch the read throughs is going to require me to put on my big girl pants and leave my inner snowflake at home.

Still, how hard can it be?

Til next time,

Love, etc

C

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Sex in Fanfiction part 10 – The Inevitable Betrayal

Betrayal is always good for a bit of angst in fiction, and fanfiction is no exception. However, I’ve noticed several features of betrayal in fanfiction that tend to reoccur. For a start, things tend to work themselves out, partly I think because of the nature of fanfiction – we simply don’t want to think badly of characters we love.

In general the betrayal in fanfiction falls into two categories – the ex who betrayed a character in the past – a cheating wife etc – who isn’t part of the story anymore, and the current partner caught up in a misunderstanding. The plot is usually Character A once upon a time suffered betrayal with an ex and now has trust issues, which are magnified when, usually through a misunderstanding, it seems that Character B is cheating on them now too. Confusion and much hurt and shouting ensue before it all tends to work itself out in the end.

So, why do we like betrayal so much? I think it’s because many of us can relate to it – from both sides – the side of being hurt, and the side of being accused. We have all hurt at some stage, and so we can all relate to characters we love being hurt, especially by other characters we love – it adds and extra element of angst that we simply don’t get from the generic cheating partner in fiction.

Another feature of fanfiction is that the relationship dynamics need to be considered. Very often, especially in non-canon couples the relationship has a lot of added pressures and complications compared to other couples. Like I mentioned before, there are usually trust issues involved somewhere, and particularly in slash then is often an element of sexual insecurity or uncertainty – very often caused in part by at least one of the characters not previously having identified as gay – and so they are dealing with their trust issues in addition to questioning their sexuality and dealing with what is a massive change in their lives full of uncertainty, and so adding a lot of angst to what is already a stressful time.

Add into that their new partner ‘cheating’ and you have an awful lot of heartbreak.

And for the ‘cheating’ partner there tends to be shock, some anger – after all, no one like to be accused of something they haven’t done, and very often this partner will beg, plead and then shut the other person out – becoming very cold and clinical.

There will be a period where neither of them are doing well, friends will be concerned etc until, usually a chance meeting, a heartfelt talk, realisation of love and then reconciliation and a stronger relationship for it. Happy endings all round.

For most of us, sexual betrayal is the worst thing someone can do to you, it cuts to the bone, induces feelings of worthlessness, fear, hurt and self loathing. Not only is there anger towards the ‘cheater’ but there are also those negative feelings towards the self – especially given the recurrent trust issues and the previous betrayal by someone else, and these often are more cutting than the anger. Why does no one love me enough?

But there are also other types of betrayal that come up – especially in relationships with a seniority issue – no one likes it when their partner pulls rank. In these fics the partnership tends to involve one character of a higher professional ranking than the other, and for the most part it tends to work just fine until something happens and the senior partner ‘I gave an order’ which is usually met with ‘Yes, Sir’ and a revert to surnames or titles and the whole relationship takes a massive leap back to a purely professional one. Now, I’m sure we’ve all seen this in real life at some stage – and this is why you shouldn’t sleep with your boss.

So why have I included this as a betrayal? Well, in a way it is. It’s taking a relationship that was supposedly equal and highlighting the imbalance. The slighted party feels betrayed because they clearly aren’t trusted – often they haven’t been something important by someone who supposedly loves them and trusts them. They feel shut out on a personal level, even though on a professional level it’s entirely correct. This leads to a conflict over whether or not the relationship can continue. Not just that, but to have rank pulled is belittling – it’s putting someone in there place and that can only impact badly on relationships.

Then there is the Big Secret – this can be something really horrific from their past, a baby Character A never told Character B about, Character C letting Character D think they were dead, etc etc. Usually the Big Secret is already known by some other characters, which adds to the level of betrayal – after all, if the love of your life doesn’t tell you that they are still married to their ex, or that when you broke up they had a baby they didn’t tell you about, you are going to be hurt and upset, but more so because other characters know and THEY DIDN’T TELL YOU EITHER. So who can you trust? No one. Everyone is lying to you, you can’t trust your lover, you can’t trust your friends. You are alone. Betrayed.

Hurt is a powerful thing, and we fanfiction folks like to see our characters suffer a bit, safe in the knowledge that it will all work out in the end. But that’s because we’re a sadistic bunch in general.

So, I’m off to read some angsty fic.

Til next time.

Love, etc

C

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Sex in fanfiction part 9 – Return to the Omegaverse – Gender and Sexuality

This week I got a request from a friend to explain the concept of the Omegaverse to her in more detail. You may remember that I wrote a general outline of it all the way back in August which you can read here: https://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/sex-in-fanfiction-part-3-trends-omegaverse-and-knotting/

But this week I wanted to talk about the roles of gender and sexuality in the Omegaverse.

I have to admit that I’m a little uncomfortable in general with Omegaverse, partly because of the element of dub and non-con that tends to exist as a result of the rules of the Omegaverse, but also because of the role that gender and sexuality play.

Gender in Omegaverse is generally not about being male or female – these tend to be secondary characteristics rather than a definition of gender. Gender instead tends to be Alpha, Beta or Omega. In most fics Omegas tend to be the ‘breeders’ and are usually rare and are either very precious and sacred, or are considered to be unworthy and unsavoury. Usually male/female has no bearing on whether an Omega can produce children, and so Mpreg is very common in Omegaverse.

In terms of Betas – generally they tend to have some fertility issues etc, don’t suffer from uncontrollable ‘heat’ which leaves them with no control over their bodies, sex or, very often, choice of partners.

There are two issues that I want to address here before I go any further. Firstly the notion of ‘heat’ which is, in itself, quite alarming. The concept that the ‘female’ (ie. Those who can bear children regardless of whether they are male or female in terms of physiology) having no control over their bodies, being driven so intensely by hormones that they are basically nothing more than a sex crazed, lust fuelled half crazy begging to be shagged by any Alpha that comes along is a worrying thought. To lose control over ones body, especially in a sexual way, is not a pleasnat experience and the elements here of non and dub-con make that equally disturbing. The fact that it only applies to the child bearers (ie. ‘female’) is horribly reminiscent of misogynistic thinking of the past. Esentially one can consider an Omega to be a sort of sex slave, both to Alphas and to their own bodies and hormones.

Fertility is another issue. Often Betas tend to have fertility issues – and strangely only the female Betas can usually breed, when they can breed. But they don’t suffer the same ‘heat’ as Omegas and so one can assume that the child bearers (ie ‘female’ roles) are divided into two groups – those who can’t reproduce and those who are breeding machines. Not much of a middle ground and again says more about how we think about women than it does about sex in general.

Sexuality is an interesting concept in Omegaverse, and strangely it’s one aspect of Omegaverse that I actually really like – physical gender tends to have nothing to do with sexuality and instead it’s about the Alpha/Beta/Omega genetics, which means that whether you have a penis or not really has no bearing on who you are with. That said, in terms of reproduction a penis is generally still necessary, and Alpha females tend to be pretty rare because of the Omegaverse’s general need for a ‘knot’ as part of the reproductive part of ‘heat.’ Obviously male slash tends to be very, very common in Omegaverse, and, well, you all know how happy that tends to make me.

Generally though I can’t shake the unhealthy aspects of Omegaverse and what is says about societies attitudes towards traditionally female roles, and while I welcome the idea of ‘males’ filling those roles in terms of bearing children etc, it’s still a pretty degrading role to fill and the traditional and undeniable way it reflects on historical (and often modern) concepts of womanhood, ferility and child bearing, not to mention traditional gender roles in terms of sex and sexual dominance (ie. The ‘man’ is in charge and the ‘woman’ will just lie back and think of England because she’s nothing but a massive bag of uncontrollable hormones anyway) make for some pretty uncomfortable reading at times.

And that’s before we even get into the concept of Bonding – which is basically when and Alpha and Omega forge some sort of deep connection that binds them together. Which is a nice idea, but the fact that this generally happens during sex, and usually during a heat when the ‘female’ has basically no control over the situation or themselves, again adds to the non-con element and is horribly reminiscent of the old notions of taking someone’s virtue and them belonging to you and HAVING to be with you / marry you etc.

This then raises the issue of an Omega (‘female’) becoming property of the Alpha (‘male’) which is again a very worryingly misogynistic standpoint that I thought modern society was moving away from. Women as property? Hmm. You can surely see why I have issue with that.

Let’s consider for a moment the two popular sides of Omega – firstly the idea that Omegas are special and sacred because they can do something like breed and that means they need to be looked after and protected in case something happens to them. And secondly the idea that Omegas are a lower sort of species, almost like a pet (and yes, there are a LOT of fics out there wear Omegas wear collars to signify that they ‘belong’ or are Bonded to an Alpha)and not really something you want in your family. Either way it shows the fear that we have when it comes to reproduction and how we fear those elements of gender that are specifically female.

In all there are many elements to this Verse that relate to sexuality and gender roles in a way that make me pretty uncomfortable and forced me to take a much deeper look into the Omegaverse than I really wanted to.

No matter, you are all able to make up your own minds.

I’m curious to see what others think.

Until next time.

Love, etc

C

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